Back to my usual weekend blogging here at VEB, thanks everyone for your congratulations. Believe or not, I've been sleeping ok. Mom and baby have been great.
It's been somewhat of a slow week news-wise, other then maybe the announcement of the All Star Game coming in to StL in 2009. Many of you may know I've starting blogging the Cardinal farm system, and it's been a very fun learning experience so far. With not much else to talk about, I thought I'd throw out my personal picks for the top 15 list of the Cardinal prospects. Feel free to argue, these things are usually fun to look back and laugh at years from now. With props to John Sickels, I'll put my little 2 cents beside each player.
First a quick explanation. Originally, I had planned on doing this all scientific like, basing my judgments on all sorts of peripherals and such, but they don't tell you the whole story. For example, a lot of experts are sort of down on Nick Stavinoha after a mediocre season, but not many have taken notice that he was hitting .324/.347/.479 in 74 at bats the first month of the season and then he injured his ankle early May. He returned May 17 and struggled upon his return, hitting only .227 in 132 at bats until end of June. Since July until the end of the season he hit .332/.384/.556, including 8 homeruns in 214 at bats. Until that point, he had only hit 4 homeruns in 203 at bats. Or some have noted Ottavino needs to work on his control, which may be true and all, but what they don't take notice of is that Ottavino was learning to throw a new pitch, the sinker. Then you have other things like league averages, park factors, etc. It's just easier to go from the gut here.
- Colby Rasmus CF (I think we all can agree on this.)
- Jaime Garcia SP (K rate dropped some upon call up to A+, but good control and is an extreme groundballer.)
- Adam Ottavino SP (Good fastball/slider combo. 3/4 delivery, susceptible to lefties, southpaws hit .320/.417/.474 against.)
- Jon Jay LF (polished college hitter, high contact guy. Strong lower body suggests he could hit for more power, but that's not his game. Walked more then he struck out. Lefty. Tony Gwynn-light? There, I said it.)
- Blake Hawksworth SP (Very nice rebound from shoulder surgery, could be in rotation for good in '08.)
- Chris Perez (hard-throwing closer, mid-nineties fastball with a plus slider. Should be promoted aggresively.)
- Bryan Anderson C (line drive hitting catcher who rarely strikes out. A hitting catcher in St. Louis? The world has gone topsy-turvy.)
- Cody Haerther LF (Overcame an injury riddled first half to post a solid 2nd half.)
- Tyler Greene SS (52 stolen bases out of 56 attempts in his brief MiLB career. Lots of power, but strikes out a ton. Failed miserably in pitching dominated FSL, rebounded in Midwest League. Should make jump to Texas League, a more hitter-friendly place for him to continue to gain confidence.)
- Nick Stavinoha RF (See comment for Haerther.)
- Mark McCormick SP (Great fastball/curve, very high ceiling but command always an issue. Bit by injury bug last season.)
- Daryl Jones OF (Everyone loves his tools, but a long way away.)
- Mitch Boggs SP (If he was hittable at Palm Beach, I'm afraid what will happen to him at Springfield. I still think he's under-rated by most.)
- Blake King SP (potential sleeper, former juco strikeout leader had impressive debut for JC.)
- Mark Hamilton 1B (Pitchers adjusted to him after hot start, but lots of power.)
Narrowly missing the cut- P Troy Cate certainly deserves mention, considering his dominant season and recent winter league exploits. Also coming just short are OF Jon Edwards, SP Eddie Degerman, SP Tyler Norrick, RP Mike Sillman, SP Brad Furnish, SP Trey Hearne.So there you have it. A quick note for when you look at some of the prospects. JC is very hitter friendly, so be easy on pitchers and tough on judging hitters. Same goes for Springfield, it's very homer happy. Quad Cities slighty favors pitchers, Memphis a bit more so. Don't get too excited about what a pitcher does at Palm Beach, it's very much a pitchers park and quite supressive against power hitters. Mark Worrell kinda proved that point last year. (See Dan Szymborski's minor league park factors.)